The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP) at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has organised a three-day workshop for its staff at Rosapearl Hotel, Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region. The workshop was held to review the MCFSP at KNUST Phase I implementations; activities, objectives and deliverables and also to discuss strategies to efficiently and effectively manage the Phase II of the Scholars’ Program.
Ms. Afia Ampomah Awuah, the Program Manager for MCFSP at KNUST, presented an overview of the Phase I of the Scholars Program at KNUST. In her presentation, she spoke about the objective of the Scholars Program; to recruit scholars, prepare and transition them to lead the transformational agenda of the African Continent.
She said that in order to achieve the said objective, the Secretariat of the Scholars’ Program organises activities such as; summer camps, leadership seminars, networking dinners, debriefing sessions and others to prepare the scholars to take up community engagement projects which includes scholars’ initiatives in problem solving.
Ms. Afia Ampomah highlighted on some of the outstanding scholars’ community engagement projects, including the MORE Women project; in which a scholar trains young women especially teenage mothers in her community in basket weaving, Floyabana Sanitary Pad project, Youth Liberation Project and other projects.
She further presented on the 3+1+1 International Accelerated Degree Program (IADP), a partnership between KNUST and Arizona State University (ASU). She said that the 3+1+1 IADP is a scholarship program that enable KNUST students to study 3 years of some selected undergraduate Business Administration and Engineering programmes in KNUST, pursue their final year and an accelerated Masters degree in ASU.
Professor William Otoo Ellis, Chairman of the Executive Advisory Board (EAB), MCFSP at KNUST, in his presentation, gave an overview of what the Phase II of the Scholars Program entails. He emphasised that, the Program will target financially challenged youth especially females, displaced youth and persons with disability who have passed their senior high school examinations but have no means to pursue tertiary education.
According to Prof. Ellis, the Phase II of the Scholars Program seeks to train 1,500 transformational and ethical leaders within the next ten years, out of which 70% will be females and 30% males; 25% displaced youth; 10% will be persons with disability; 80% will be Ghanaians and 20% international students from Sub-Saharan African countries. “These 1,500 young people will serve as a catalyst for enterprise development to transform their respective communities,” he added.
He, therefore, encouraged staff to continue working hard and as a team to ensure the success of the Scholars Program.
A representative from the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CEDRES), KNUST, Mr. Peter Owusu, in his presentation, highlighted on "all one needs to know about persons with disabilities". He educated the Program staff on the language to use and the “dos” and “don’ts” when dealing with persons with disability.
Mr. Owusu thanked the Management for bringing such an opportunity to offer scholarships to persons with disability.
Professor (Mrs.) Ibok Oduro, a representative from Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEM), KNUST, and the former Provost, College of Science, KNUST, took the staff through some of the guidelines on "how to cope with young female scholars", and the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that are likely to affect the perspective of the young female scholar.
Prof. (Mrs) Oduro encouraged the Secretariat to nurture these female scholars with care and best practices which she believes will encourage openness amongst them, to build trust and offer accountability.
Presenting on the topic, “Appreciating and working with refugee scholars,” Mrs. Catherine Lolove, a representative from Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), Ghana, educated staff on how to relate with displaced scholars and encouraged them to as much as possible treat these scholars with equal empathy and not sympathy.
Mrs. Lolove, in her presentation stressed on the need to provide psychosocial support for the displaced scholars due to their background and the communities they come from.